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An Analysis of the Consciousness of Filial Piety Through the Perspective of Time

  • Xianglong ZhangEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Philosophical Studies in Contemporary Culture book series (PSCC, volume 21)

Abstract

This chapter examines how the consciousness of filial piety, the soul of Confucian ritual, is formed through the perspective of time. From this view, the occurrence of filial awareness cannot be reduced to social and cultural impacts. Rather, it is an anthropo-phenomenon that best manifests the characteristics of humanity and has to be constituted in the factual life of the species. In this chapter, the following conclusions are reached: (1) The relatively universal occurrence of the consciousness of filial piety in natural human conditions is the result of the deepening and prolongation of an individual’s consciousness of inner time (as well as original imagination) caused by the unique existentialism of human beings. Parental love, a phenomenon also existing in some animals, can ignite among humans a reciprocal consciousness of filial piety that seeks to repay this love. (2) Therefore, filial piety and parental love are complimentary phenomena brought about by the same genetic structure of time consciousness. (3) As a result of an incapacity to understand primordial “time meaning” in the interweaving of past and future, a view held by the Book of Changes, there is no awareness of the role of filial piety, even in contemporary phenomenology. (4) According to Confucianism, human beings authentically face “death” or “non-being” through the relations between parents and children, as well as intergenerationally, which is contrary to the individualistic approach of Heidegger and many western thinkers. These genetic relations generate all other ethical and moral relationships. (5) The consciousness of filial love in adults does not occur merely through obedience to certain rules of ritual, but rather needs to be developed through one’s life experiences. Consciousness of piety, which is usually diluted by individual self-consciousness, can be awakened by such experiences as “life frustration” or raising children.

Keywords

Confucianism Filial piety Ritual Consciousness of Time Heidegger 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Philosophy, Institute of Foreign PhilosophyPeking UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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